Carlos Beltran honors nose pledge

JUPITER, Fla. -- St. Louis Cardinals center fielder Carlos Beltran is a man of his word -- and his ex-teammate Jon Niese has a new nose as a result.

Beltran, who offered last summer to pay for a nose job for Niese, has in fact paid the $10,000 bill, the New York Mets left-hander said.

Beltran and Niese were teammates when the offer was made last July. Niese went through with the rhinoplasty procedure in October.

Beltran carried through with the promise despite having been traded away from the Mets. He spent the second half of last season with the San Francisco Giants, and now is with the Cardinals.

Niese's motivation for the nose job originally was cosmetic, but he said he has been breathing better since the elective procedure.

Beltran had toyed with Niese earlier this spring training about the payment.

During a visit with the Cardinals to Port St. Lucie, Fla., for a spring training game two weeks ago against the Mets, Beltran found $5 on the floor of the visitors' dugout and playfully told reporters: "Give it to Niese. He needs it."

He also joked that there ought to be a check-presentation ceremony.

"How's his nose look?" Beltran also asked reporters during the

A little better, Beltran was told.

"A little bit? ... So should I pay? Should I not?"

Said Niese: "He wanted me to have a new nose. So he offered to pay for it. I was just like, 'All right.' Then it turned into seeing doctors and to getting it fixed."